ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Creating a Counter-public Sphere

Writing Resistance: The Rhetorical Imagination of Hindi Dalit Literature by Laura R Brueck, Delhi: Primus Books, 2017; pp xiii + 218₹ 995.


The emergence of Dalit literature in Hindi public sphere has not only raised serious questions on the dominant mainstream Hindi literary world, but also has expanded its domain with new issues, narratives, and aesthetics. Contemporary Dalit discourse in India is constituted by both the publication of a diverse form of literature (including autobiography, short and long fiction, poetry and drama) and critical networks of public debates. These networks are made up of Dalit literary and activist organisations, publishing houses that regularly print texts authored by Dalits, literary journals, magazines, etc. The book under review intends to present a comprehensive study of these different aspects of Hindi Dalit literature as an oppositional or “counter-public” sphere, which has provided Dalit intellectuals and writers a space to express their creativity and construct a counter-narrative against the hegemonic discourse of mainstream Hindi literature.

This book opens up with an introduction and has seven chapters, which are organised in two parts. The first three chapters constituting Part I of the book present Dalit literary sphere as counter-public space and explore debates and literary and political issues that arise among Dalit writers. It also analyses the emergence of Dalit literary organisations and their functioning to make space for their voices in mainstream Hindi literary world. Part II presents close readings of contemporary Hindi Dalit literary prose narratives through the study of the writings (primarily short stories) of some of the well-known Dalit writers like Omprakash Valmiki, Jaiprakash Kardam, Ajay Navaria, and Kusum Meghwal, followed by a conclusion. By discussing the prose narratives of these writers, the author of the book Laura R Brueck has tried to engage with the diverse aesthetic and stylistic strategies employed by them.

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Updated On : 5th Apr, 2019
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